When the orchestra of the Milano Scala went on tour in 2009, the biggest Japanese cigarette manufacturer was one of its primary sponsors.[1] In the following years, JTI sponsored selected performances in Milano as well as the museum of the Opera House. Apart from the Scala, the biennial arts festival of Venice and the film festival of Rome have been supported by Japanese tobacco funds.[2] The manufacturer of the Camel brand calls this arts promotion an expression of its “corporate philanthropy”.[3] But this charity is based on coporate calculation: opera premieres and exhibition openings offer good opportunities for the main sponsor to get in touch with prominent guests for the media and politics. Additionally to the lobbying effects, arts promotion has significant value for marketing: according to its CSR report 2009, JTI prefers to finance sights which are particularly popular among Japanese tourists[4], including the Louvre in Paris, the Prado in Madrid, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the Bolshoi Theatre in Moskow.

Further reading:

Corporate Social Responsibility and Access to Policy Élites: An Analysis of Tobacco Industry Documents (2011)